This is the eighth post in the popular series about forest school pedagogy and outdoor learning from Rain or Shine Mamma. Subscribe for email updates at the end of the post if you want to follow along! If you missed the first parts of the series, make sure to check out DIY Forest School I-V, DIY Forest School VI: Rock Stacking and DIY Forest School VII: What’s in the Bag? as well. The activities are independent of each other don’t need to follow in any particular order.
Sequencing with natural objects is an easy activity that can be done during a hike without any advance planning or extra materials. Despite its simplicity, this activity packs a lot of learning as it turns the child’s attention to the natural processes of growth and decay that are all a part of life. Fall is a perfect time for it, since this is a season when many different stages of decay are often on full display.
Time: 15 min+
- Natural objects that show varying stages of decay, for example leaves, nuts or flowers.
- Reusable bag to put the items in.
- Optional: White sheet or piece of paper.
Place: Any natural area with an abundance of loose parts.
How to do it:
Go for a nature walk and have your child collect leaves, acorns or other natural objects. You may need to add a few if he/she does not get enough variety in terms of stages of decay. The older the child, the more objects you can have in the series; 6-10 is usually a good number, depending on what you can find.
Once you have enough samples, lay them all out on the ground in random order. I found that putting a white piece of paper underneath the leaves made it easier to sort them, as some were in pretty advanced stages of decay and did not show up well on the forest floor. Ask your child which samples are the freshest and have him/her put them in the right order, either in a line or a circle.
Some questions to discuss:
- Why do the trees lose their leaves in the fall?
- Why do the leaves change colors?
- What happens to the leaves once they fall on the ground?
OutdoorsMom has the answer to these questions and more in her post about exploring trees in the fall.
Have fun exploring!
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